• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 11
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Take a Deep Breath

Even the air we breathe is processed,
has to be now that the fires in the north
and west have flung particulate matter
across the continent. So we carry on,
don our masks and our oxygen tanks
before we sit down to play the harp
or piano—no trumpets or trombones
since we cannot inhale enough to "blow,
Gabriel, blow" any more—and pretend
life is good, still pretty good, as my friend
Bob likes to say, just as the gauge on the tank
veers toward empty and the lightning cracks
and the floodgates open and we become
curios and knick-knacks in nature’s wild parlor.